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PA wants UN to reconsider full membership

A draft resolution asks that the General Assembly pass a resolution requesting the Security Council to reconsider "favorably" full membership for "Palestine."

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas addresses the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 26, 2019. Credit: UN Photo/Cia Pak.
Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas addresses the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 26, 2019. Credit: UN Photo/Cia Pak.

The Palestinian Authority wants the United Nations General Assembly to pass a resolution requesting that the U.N. Security Council reconsider “favorably” full membership for “Palestine.”

A draft Palestinian resolution obtained by the Associated Press on Tuesday would give the P.A. “the rights and privileges” accorded to the other 193 member nations of the international body.

Unlike Security Council resolutions, General Assembly resolutions are not binding.

The United States vetoed the Palestinian bid for full U.N. membership in a Security Council vote last month and is scheduled to defend the decision on Wednesday morning in the General Assembly.

Of the 15 members of the council, 12 voted for a Palestinian state, including Japan, South Korea, France and Slovenia, which don’t currently recognize a Palestinian state. The United Kingdom and Switzerland abstained on the Algeria-drafted resolution.

As one of the five permanent members of the council, Washington has veto power.

Washington has “long been clear that premature actions here in New York, even with the best intentions, will not achieve statehood for the Palestinian people,” Robert Wood, deputy U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, told the Security Council.

Wood cited the failure of the council’s committee on new members to reach a consensus on the issue. He also questioned whether the Palestinians meet the basic criteria for U.N. statehood—questions that prevented the committee from reaching consensus on the original application for full Palestinian U.N. membership in 2011.

“We have long called on the Palestinian Authority to undertake necessary reforms to help establish the attributes of readiness for statehood and note that Hamas—a terrorist organization—is currently exerting power and influence in Gaza, an integral part of the state envisioned in this resolution,” Wood said.

P.A. chief Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction has reiterated its desire to reconcile with Hamas, China’s Foreign Ministry announced on Tuesday following talks in Beijing.

Representatives of Fatah and Hamas recently held negotiations in the Chinese capital with a view to forging a Palestinian unity government.

The Palestinians became the first membership applicant to be turned away by a council vote since the United States voted against membership for Vietnam in 1976, relenting the next year.

By U.S. law, full membership for Ramallah at the United Nations outside a political settlement with Israel would automatically terminate U.S. funding for the United Nations.

The Palestinians have the necessary two-thirds majority in the 193-member U.N. General Assembly to gain final membership approval if their application ever passes the Security Council. The Palestinians have held U.N. non-member observer status, which the General Assembly granted, since 2012.

Meanwhile, at least five European Union countries will unilaterally recognize a Palestinian state by the end of May, the E.U.’s top diplomat revealed on Monday.

Spain, Ireland, Belgium, Slovenia and Malta are expected to make the move, Josep Borrell said on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum special meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Reuters reported.

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